Can technology help manage ADHD in kids, help them to stay focused? These experts think it can.
“Yes, exercising and being in the outdoors is important for kids with boundless energy like those who have ADHD. It’s also true that some technological innovations like video games shorten kids’ attention spans,” says licensed clinical child psychologist Randy Kulman. He strongly asserts these next words:
“However, it’s wrong to say that technology is one of the causes of ADHD.”
Technology In ADHD Management
Kulman is one of the growing numbers of experts who believe technology can be utilized to help manage ADHD in children. According to him, technology isn’t going away anytime soon. So why not use it as an aid for kids who have focus and concentration challenges? Why not use it as well for those with learning disabilities regarding processing the information they learn efficiently and enhancing how their minds process these learnings? Katie Hurley, LCSW also quoted that “Technology can be an asset for many people, but it’s also natural to wonder whether those with ADHD are more vulnerable to dependence on digital tools.”
“Technology is one perfect tool for kids and adults, normal or those with special needs,” he stresses out. In fact, he believes in a healthy play diet for kids – a concept where outside play is mixed in with doses of video games and other technological recreations.
How Does Technological Innovations Exactly Benefit Kids With ADHD?
Kulman believes that the smartphone is one of the best innovations helpful for those who have the hyperactivity disorder. For one, it can be used to set up reminders of tasks that a person with ADHD needs to do for the day. Secondly, one can use it as extended working memory since this is the usual problem for those who have the condition. Example, if the child with ADHD needs to bring certain things to school the next day, pictures of these can be taken and then accessed later on to see if he missed anything or not.
Joan Green, a pathologist who has worked with kids and adults with communication and other learning challenges, recommends smartpens as a useful classroom tool for those who have ADHD.
“Kids with the disorder find it difficult to concentrate, learn new lessons and write notes at the same time,” she says. With a smartpen, the child will be able to go through his notes and audio recordings of the lessons at a place more conducive for him regarding attention and retention.
Kulman says that apps can help ADHD kids in regards to writing, supporting their weak executive function abilities, and even improve their working memory issues.
Kristin Stanberry and Dr. Marshall H. Raskind, PhD, a learning disability researcher, and wrote that, “Children with ADHD may struggle in school due to poor handwriting, math challenges, and/or inattention. Assistive technology tools and software aim to level the playing field by capitalizing on kids’ strengths, while working around their challenges.”
“YouTube is an ideal resource for learning especially for young kids with the condition or those who their parents suspect of having it but are too young to get tested,” says Kulman. The platform is rife with interactive songs, dances and educational videos. However, as much as there are many materials geared towards educating young minds in the platform, it is also filled with inappropriate content, so parents have to be careful that their kids don’t get to that.
Joan Green doesn’t think all video game to discern those that are good from those that are junk. She recommends fixtures that allow movements and interactions and encourages focus in players like Minecraft. “By providing some of these assistive technologies, parents and teachers are setting the stage for greater academic success”, according to psychologist Dr. Matthew Lynch.
To Minimize Technological Disruptions
But while technology is a great help, it is also a great distraction that can steer those with focus issues away from the tasks they need to do.
In this matter, the experts hand out these pieces of advice:
- Do a digital environment decluttering. There are available apps that get rid of disrupting online ads.
- Most browsers have “reader views” which allow the user to read a “text-only” version of whatever document he has online without online ads and promotions popping in every second.
- Parents can also block distractions from the internet using Guided Access to their electronic devices.
“People with ADHD easily get distracted from a dropping pen to whatever workings they have in their minds. To say technology is one of these distractions is right. But blaming it as THE main culprit is wrong. Its benefits are not only for those who are normal like us. Innovations are greatly advantageous for those with special needs as well,” concludes one of the experts.